Reflect and Recharge: Don’t Squander This Important Opportunity

By Heather Campbell

Hope all is good with you and that you’ve had a great week.

I’ve had a good one but must admit, I’m getting that ‘almost there’ feeling that arrives when vacation time is in sight. I finish up next Friday for two weeks and I’m ready for a break. I’m sure you’ll be looking forward to some downtime over the summer period too.

Holidays are such important waypoints in the year. I don’t know why this word popped into my head as I was writing this email. In fact, it’s a word I see so infrequently that I stopped to check out its meaning – and in fact, to make sure it actually is a word.

It is!

A waypoint is an intermediate point or place on a route or line of travel, a stopping point at which course is changed (Wikipedia). It’s also a specified place on a route, used for navigation or location. Its purpose is to help us know where we are and where we’re going. It helps us find our way.

I thought this was all so relevant to vacations. They are certainly a stopping point on our life-time journey. They’re often a point at which we make big life decisions or commit to smaller adjustments to our direction of travel.

They can help us to find – or renew – a stronger sense of where we are and where we want to go next in our careers, in our calendar year or in our overall lives.

They’re a time of renewal – whether you get that from chilling on a lounger by a beach, dancing the night away on a party island or learning a new skill, holidays are important.

Using these waypoints well pays dividends. Study after study shows that taking time away from a stressful job increases productivity at work and our personal well-being. Individuals who take a break have less risk of heart disease, lower stress, feel happier and have more motivation to reach goals and objectives.

As we all know, it’s too easy in our hyperconnected world to just keep working during our vacation time. I understand all too well that it feels easier to keep on top of emails, or finish off that report, or check in with the team. I won’t say you shouldn’t do this because you already know you shouldn’t. And, to be honest, if a quick check-in helps you relax more easily for the rest of the day, then maybe it doesn’t do so much harm.

But perhaps you can be just a little more intentional about how you use your next waypoint to your advantage. Whether your holidays are just around the corner or are still some weeks away, what can you do to really benefit from them?

Do you need to use this stopping point to:

Make a big life decision?
Choose some smaller adjustments to your direction of travel?
Renew your sense of purpose and focus?
Set plans for the rest of this year?
Switch off and unplug?

What steps can you take now to make sure that you create the time and space you need to really benefit from your vacation time?
What boundaries do you need to set today so that you don’t find work crowding out your valued time off?
Do you need to give yourself permission to see that holidays aren’t an indulgence – they’re an investment?

For your health, for your relationships, for your ability to perform well when you get back to ‘normal’ life, you owe it to yourself to use this time well!

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